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Saudi side agrees to new Yemen’s talks amid backlashes

The UN special envoy to Yemen says warring sides in the most impoverished Arab nation will meet in Geneva next month to discuss a transitional governance deal.

Consultations are due to begin in Geneva on Sept. 6 on a framework for peace talks and confidence-building measures, Martin Griffiths said in remarks published by Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper Saturday.

The UN, he said, is primarily trying to reach an agreement between the Saudi-backed side and Yemen’s Ansarullah fighters “on the issues essential to ending the war and on a national unity government in which everyone participates.”

“This will require a signed agreement that includes setting up a transitional political operation under a national unity government … and putting in place security arrangements for the withdrawal of all armed groups in Yemen and disarming them.”

The last round of talks in 2016 ended with the Saudi-backed side walking out after the Ansarullah fighters insisted on the formation of a government before they quit three main cities, including Sana’a.

Griffiths did not say whether the Saudis and their proxies in Yemen have changed their position which is crucial to ending the three-year conflict.

Saudi Arabia, backed by Western powers including the United States and Britain and the UAE, launched a war on Yemen in 2015 to reinstate former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi who had resigned and fled to Riyadh.

The war has martyred more than 16,000 people and pushed Yemen to the verge of starvation after seeing most of its infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and bridges, destroyed in Saudi airstrikes.

On Thursday, Saudi warplanes attacked a school bus in a market in the town of Dahyan in the Northwestern Province of Sa’ada, martyring at least 50 civilians, mainly children.